Amy Guy

Raw Blog

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Prewired 3

Our third Prewired event went smoothly, with 20 young people (about 4 new) and 7 or so parents attending, plus 8 mentors. So lower signups than usual (a few cancellations due to school commitments), but we decided not to do a big publicity push and see how it ran with a smaller group. I didn't notice much difference, since they organise themselves into smaller groups anyway to work on different things. I think next time we'll try to reach our capacity of 40.

We had a big group working on a variety of Python projects (games, basics, algorithms, I'm not sure what else..), a small group doing front-end web, and quite a few doing amazing things with Scratch.

Every week I discover new things these super-talented young people are doing with their time, and it won't be long before many of them are spending a lot of time mentoring their peers as well as working on their own projects.

Nantas came by to talk about what he does with the University's Robotics lab, including the challenges of making humanoid robots play football, and the state of the art, two-million-pounds, full sized humanoid robot that is moving to Edinburgh in the near future. Definitely stuff to get young people excited about learning to code.

We've been trying to encourage them to code between Prewired sessions, too, and about half of them said they had. I hope by the next time all of them have, and I'm really excited to see what they're capable of making in a few months time!


Some of the young people attending are disadvantaged by not being able to bring their own laptop, or having only really old laptops which can't support modern browsers and therefore have trouble even executing the JavaScript their writing (true story).

We'd love to be able to pay for a set of simple but up-to-date laptops that we could lend to the attendees who don't have their own during sessions.  This at least will put them on a level playing field with the others during the sessions, and I suspect that many of them have adequate desktop machines or family laptops at home.

Prewired runs on a budget of volunteer blood, sweat and tears, and zero pounds.  We're lucky enough to be able to use space in the University Informatics building for free, and there are no shortage of keen mentors and helpers willing to chip in their time (and in some cases cash for snacks).

So if you work for a company who might be able to support the purchase of resources for our young coders, or know someone who does, then please get in touch!